Friday, March 5, 2010

When the Planning Advocate advises against PLANNING

I am a planner. There isn’t any way around it. I like to know what, where, when and how - and preferably 2 weeks in advance. Planning leads to better organization, which simplifies your personal and/or your professional life.

So is there any time Ms. SleeveShirt advises against planning?

I recently read this inspirational article where Oprah interviews the Zen Buddhist master Nhat Hanh. The 83-year old native of Vietnam joined a monastery at age 16 and has been sharing his philosophies with the world ever since. He’s everything you would expect from a Buddhist monk. He lives simply, chooses his words carefully and has always been wise beyond his years.

What struck me most was his challenge against the environment most of us find ourselves in- just trying to get through the next thing. Hanh says, “But with a practice, we can always remain alive in the present moment... It is possible to live happily in the here and the now.”

We’re all guilty of it. Too often we rush through all that life has to offer because we’re already thinking of what’s next on our to-do list. Hanh provides a simple example of how to achieve contentment of the present moment.

“Suppose you are drinking a cup of tea. When you hold your cup, you may like to breathe in, to bring your mind back to your body, and you become fully present. And when you are truly there, something else is also there- life, represented by the cup of tea. In that moment you are real, and the cup of tea is real. You are not lost in the past, in the future, in your projects, in your worries. You are free from all these afflictions. And in that state of being free, you enjoy your tea. That is the moment of happiness, and of peace.”

I’m going to go turn the kettle on. I hope you will join me for a spot of tea.


  1. While "enjoying" my coffee this AM I slowed down after reading this. VERY refreshing. You know how GUILTY I am at "on to the next thing"...I like to keep a full dance card. But, as of late, I'm definitely being more selective with the things and people that are the biggest priority. :)

  2. I know how hard it can be! But if we consciously slow down, who knows what good things will present themself! Have a great day! Ps- My coffee is really tasty this morning.